Ragnar Pennsylvania Leg 1

14 Jun

Buckle up because this is part one of my three-part Ragnar Pennsylvania Race Recap!! Ragnar has been a long time bucket list item for me and I was lucky enough to be part of the Runnersaurus Rex team with a bunch of my friends (and a few strangers too) and help cover 200ish miles on June 2nd and 3rd.  The race started in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and ended in Poconos Mountains, Pennsylvania.

In case you don’t know much about Ragnar, it is typically a 12- person relay (though some teams choose to run it as a 6-person ultra team– CRAZY). The 12-person teams are broken into two vans, and each runner is responsible for running 3 of the 36 legs. I was runner 12, which put me in van 2 (with runners 7-11), and meant that I ran legs 12, 24 and 36. Hopefully that makes sense. 🙂

Most of our team members could leave from central Pennsylvania, so we decided to rent the vans from a local rental place, and left around 5pm on Thursday the 1st. We drove directly to the packet pickup in Lancaster and were able to watch the safety video, have our night-time running gear checked and get our bibs and shirts.  By this time it was around 8pm and everyone was understandably hangry. A few folks were super tired so they headed to the hotel while a bunch of us grabbed dinner at a pizza place called Luca.

Ragnar PA Dinner

Full and tired we went to the hotel and fell asleep.

Van 1 had a 6:15am start time on Friday morning. In Van 2, we decided to get up early too and walk to get coffee and then to the start to cheer on runner 1 (Jen)!

Ragnar PA Leg 1 (1)

We also got a pre-race photo with everyone! 🙂

RagnarPA_Leg1 (1)

The excitement was real!!

After seeing Van 1 off we went back to the hotel to decorate our van before heading to breakfast. Since we weren’t running until noonish we had plenty of time to eat a full brunch and digest before our first runner would have to start.

Ragnar PA Leg 1 (4)

We loved checking out local restaurants as we made our way through Pennsylvania.

Ragnar PA Leg 1 (3)

After brunch we headed to Exchange 6 – also know as the first “major exchange” (any exchange where you exchange runners in different vans is considered a major exchange). We spent some time shopping (because, Ragnar gear is amazing!!), hydrating, port-a-pottying, cheering on the last runner from van 1 as she finished and cheering on our first runner as she started. It was GO TIME for van 2!!!

For the next 4 hours we played leap-frog as the runners from van 2 ran their first legs. I was the last runner for our van (and the last runner overall) so I had a bit of a wait.

Ragnar PA Leg 1 (5).JPG

It was a ton of fun to get out of our vans and cheer our runners on as we made our way through Lancaster.

Ragnar PA Leg 1 (6).JPG

I started to get pretty nervous as my time came closer and closer — those pre-race nerves apparently happen in Ragnar too!  The temperature kept climbing into the mid 70s, so I knew this was going to be the hottest temperature I had run in this year, which added to my anxiousness.  I decided to run with a hat, sunglasses and handheld water bottle to manage the heat and sun as best as possible.

While waiting for Runner 11 (Day) to hand off the slap bracelet to me I got a photo with our mascot – Nick the T-Rex.  We handed him off to every incoming runner so that he made the trip across the state with us!

Ragnar PA Leg 1 (7)

Day came in right at 4pm and I was off on my first leg of Ragnar!!

My first leg was 7.8ish miles and had a STEEP 400 ft climb at the end.

Ragnar Leg 1 Elevation

I ran the first 4 miles under an 11-minute pace but slowed down considerably as the elevation started to get trickier. Ragnar Leg 1 Splits

My leg had a bunch of rolling hills, and was super scenic as we ran through the Amish countryside. I kept track of my “kills” like a good Ragnarian (the number of people that you pass) and was happy to get 9 of them.

Ragnar described my first leg as “very hard” and luckily I really had no pace goals for Ragnar at all. With how wicked that hill was, and how warm it was outside, I was just happy to get the mileage done and check off my first leg.  I drank almost my entire water bottle by the time I got to the exchange point to hand the slap bracelet off to Jen.

Ragnar PA Leg 1 (8)

One of the coolest parts about finishing my first leg was seeing my Dad, who was volunteering as a SWAT volunteer at Exchange 12. I’ll be writing more about his experience as a SWAT volunteer in a future post.

Ragnar PA Leg 1 (9)Ragnar PA Leg 1 (10)

I was pretty spent after my first leg, but still had the energy to mark my kills and check off my leg on the van. 🙂

Ragnar PA Leg 1 (11)Ragnar PA Leg 1 (12)

I chugged some protein powder and a bottle of Nuun as we drove to a restaurant to get dinner.

Since this is long enough, I’ll end part 1 of my recaps here. Leg 2 will be up tomorrrow!

All posts Ragnar related: Ragnar Pennsylvania Leg 2Ragnar Pennslyvania Leg 3Tips for Running a Ragnar Relay, Ragnar SWAT Volunteer Q&A


6 Responses to “Ragnar Pennsylvania Leg 1”

  1. uglyfinish June 14, 2017 at 9:04 am #

    So cool! I can’t wait to read about the rest of your adventure! A Ragnar is definitely on my bucket list of races. Congrats!!

    • Becca June 14, 2017 at 11:32 am #

      Thanks!! It was a blast!!! 🙂


  1. Ragnar Pennsylvania Leg 2 | Diary of a slow runner - June 15, 2017

    […] When we last left off my van (van 2) was eating dinner before heading to major exchange point 18. If you’re totally lost, I recommend reading my Leg 1 recap where I explain some of the Ragnar basics. […]

  2. Ragnar SWAT Volunteer Q&A – with my Dad! | Diary of a slow runner - June 20, 2017

    […] SWAT volunteer (due to his past race organization experience) and I got to see him as I finished my first leg!  I asked him to participate in a Q&A to give you an idea of what is involved in volunteering […]

  3. Tips for Running a Ragnar Relay | Diary of a slow runner - June 27, 2017

    […] posts Ragnar related: Ragnar Pennsylvania Leg 1, Ragnar Pennsylvania Leg 2, Ragnar Pennslyvania Leg 3, Ragnar SWAT Volunteer […]

  4. Ragnar Pennsylvania Leg 3 | Diary of a slow runner - June 27, 2017

    […] posts Ragnar related: Ragnar Pennsylvania Leg 1, Ragnar Pennsylvania Leg 2, Tips for Running a Ragnar Relay, Ragnar SWAT Volunteer […]

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